A Brilliant, Affordable Kitchen
How a young architect designed and built the kitchen of his dreams for under $10,000.
Synopsis: Architect Reid Highley lived for several years with an inadequate kitchen. When he got engaged, however, he knew it was time for an upgrade. At 180 sq. ft., the kitchen was surprisingly large for an 800-sq.-ft. house, but most of that space was wide open. Highley’s first decision was to place a multifunction island in that empty space. In addition to providing bar-style seating, trash and dog-food storage, and counter space, the island hides a front-loading washer and dryer. Highley also purchased a cooktop, convection oven, range hood, sink, and cabinets from Ikea. He found his best deal, though, in a dumpster: white marble toilet partitions that he cut to size, polished, and installed as countertops. Starting with a budget of $10,000, he transformed the room so creatively and cost-effectively that he ended up spending just over half of that amount.
When I bought my house several years ago, I did so despite the condition of the kitchen. Age and a bad renovation attempt had left their marks. As a young (read: poor) professional, I knew it would be a while before I could renovate.
For several years, I tolerated the room and its deficiencies. I was a bachelor, and I was rarely home long enough to make anything more than a bowl of cereal for dinner. But when I got engaged, I knew that the time for procrastination was over. My soon-to-be wife and I would need a grown-up kitchen.
I figured I could spend about $10,000 on the renovation. With that number in mind, I set out to design a kitchen that an architect could be proud of.
Transforming the dead zone
Although the kitchen was in bad shape, it had one thing going for it: its size. At around 180 sq. ft., it’s larger than you might…